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Joanna Mersereau


1928 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Joanna Mersereau Obituary
JOANNA HAYES MERSEREAU
Joanna was born July 12, 1928 in Strawn, Illinois and transitioned to her heavenly art studio December 13, 2017 as a result of atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure. She was an artist from birth. She attended Blackburn College and University of Illinois, majoring in industrial design, during which time, she met John Mersereau. They were married for 23 years and remained steadfast friends throughout his life.
With their 2 daughters, they moved to Riverside, California in 1955, where Joanna worked as Staff Artist for the Riverside Press-Enterprise. Their son was born in 1958. In 1964, Joanna joined the Riverside County Office of Education as Staff Artist. The Riverside First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) was central to the family's life until 1969. Joanna and John performed with the Riverside Philharmonic; she played timpani and John, the French horn. Joanna later bought a full-size gilded harp and played professionally for many years.
Joanna saw colors, shapes and beauty in nature and people, which was reflected in her art of many forms, including lapidary, sculpting, drawing and painting. She was a founding signature member of Watercolor West. She studied with Milford Zornes, and was influenced by the styles of Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, Diego Rivera and Millard Sheets.
She and Don O'Neill began a 30-year relationship, sharing a love for watercolor and each other, traveling through Europe, Central America, Mexico and California. In 1986, 1987 and 1989, she and Don were artists in residency at Na Bolom, San Cristobal Las Casas, Mexico. In 2007, Joanna became a full signature member of American Watercolor Society.
Joanna moved to Redlands in 2011. Although she became less mobile in recent months, she found joy in creating new paintings, reading and politics.
Twice, she was the featured artist at Art for Heaven's Sake, at Redlands United Church of Christ in Redlands. She was active with the Riverside Art Museum, Riverside Community Arts Association and Redlands Art Association, and the Inland Empire Museum of Art in Upland. She was featured on the cover of The Pen Women Magazine and earned First Place in the State National League of American Pen Women Art Show. She authored, published and illustrated "Coyote and the Gods of Wood."
In addition to a multitude of friends, she leaves to cherish her memory and continue her artistic passion: her children, Beth Sanders (Jerry), Juanita Mersereau, Guy Mersereau (Lisa); grandchildren Lita Byerly (Bill Mulkey), Kea Byerly, Will Sanders (Andrea), Katie McGann (David), Drew Mersereau (Madison), Molly Mersereau and Joel Steiger (Margaret), and great-grandchildren Joseph Sanders, Victoria and Jameson McGann, and Wyatt Mulkey.
A jubilant and colorful Celebration will be held at 2:00 p.m. January 6, 2018 at the Redlands United Church of Christ, 168 Bellevue Ave. Redlands. A potluck of afternoon treats will follow in the Covenant Hall. You are invited to send your tributes and stories for sharing to [email protected] Those wishing to honor her, may contribute to the Redlands Art Association, 215 E. State Street, Redlands, CA 92373, Riverside Community Arts Association, 3870 Lemon Street, Riverside, CA 92501 or the Inland Empire Museum of Art, 1334 N. Benson Ave Unit D, Upland, CA 91786.
Published in Press-Enterprise on Dec. 24, 2017
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